The Dangers of Worry
“Worry causes brain damage.” As I listened to a teaching from cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf, those words struck deep. Dr. Leaf loves Jesus and studies the way He created the human body, specifically the mind. Her professional study has shown the precision of God’s plan of mind renewal from a scientific perspective (listen to one of her teachings).
The American Institute of Health estimates that 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems. Time magazine’s June 6, 1983 cover story called stress “The Epidemic of the Eighties” and referred to it as our leading health problem, and there can be little doubt that the situation has progressively worsened since then. The enemy of our soul generously sows seeds of fear and worry. When the Bible clearly teaches us to “not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Matthew 6:25-34), why do so many of us still struggle with fear, worry, and anxiety?
Victory over Worry
I believe that a key truth to our victory is found in Romans 12:2:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Paul exhorts us to have our thinking transformed through the renewal of our mind, which can happen in a variety of ways such as regular reading and meditating on the Word of God, dynamic and relational prayer, and taking thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Taking Thoughts Captive
Taking thoughts captive means we neutralize the enemy’s voice in our lives. How do we do that?
- Surface the enemy’s lies.
Expose the deceptions we have been believing about God, others and ourselves. We must surface every accusation that we have been believing and acknowledge the temptation that lies before us. In short, we must expose lies for what they are. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Start by asking yourself what lies you’ve been believing.
- Expel the enemy’s voice.
What we overtly or subtly agree with will control us. When we realize that we are in a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6), and surface the deceptions in our lives, it’s important to disagree and expel them. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion…”, by disagreeing with the arguments the enemy whispers into our spirits. To take something captive is not a passive concept, it’s a deliberate act. How deliberately have you taken thoughts captive?
- Agree with God.
We all agree with many things, whether we realize it or not. Before Jesus was arrested, he told the disciples that they would all betray him. Peter protested and the Bible tells us he “rebuked” Jesus. Jesus’ response to Peter was, “Get behind me, Satan!” It became abundantly clear that Peter was not in agreement with Jesus, but had his mind on the things of man (Mark 8:32-33). After Jesus’ resurrection and a fish barbeque on the beach of the Sea of Gailiee, Jesus pulls Peter aside and asks him three different times if he loved him. I believe this was a defining time of Peter coming into agreement with Jesus.
Agree with Truth
What we agree with, good or bad, will have control of our lives. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, “The Lord is singing over you with gladness; quieting you by his love; exulting over you with loud singing.” Jesus has the sure word over you. Take some time today to hear what He is saying. Revisit the words He has previously spoken over your life. Read the Word and hear the amazing truths He speaks over you today. Then, hold firm in agreement to them!
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37, AMP).